LAWSON v LAWSON, 2020 ABQB 519
10.29: General rule for payment of litigation costs
10.31: Court-ordered costs award
10.33: Court considerations in making costs award
This was an Application for Costs arising out of a family law matter. The father applied for an ex parte injunction and obtained an Order to prevent the mother from travelling with their child. He did not serve the Order on the mother until she had left. When the matter returned to Justice Devlin, the mother claimed that she did not have enough time to prepare materials once the Order was served on her which resulted in an adjournment.
Pursuant to Rule 10.29(1), a successful party is generally entitled to receive Costs. Rule 10.31(5) permits an award of Costs to self-represented individuals in “exceptional circumstances”. The Alberta Court of Appeal has linked awarding such Costs to advancing the policy objectives underlying Costs, part of which includes preventing some of the behaviour contained under Rule 10.33(2).
Justice Devlin noted that success on the matter was mixed but favoured the father. His Lordship proceeded to review the Costs that were claimed and applied the relevant factors and principles. The father claimed Costs for legal coaching; it appeared to be money well spent as the materials submitted were of good quality and helpful to the Court. The mother correctly pointed out that the father did not suffer a loss in compensation in preparing for the Applications as he was a salaried employee. Justice Devlin noted that although the conduct of both parties outside of the Applications was not ideal, they behaved reasonably within the Applications. The mother argued that the notice period she was given for the initial hearing was far too short and that she should not have to pay Costs for the adjournment, and Justice Devlin agreed. It was also found that the reason for the ex parte Application was the mother’s failure to communicate with the father about travel plans, and at the hearing it was concluded that she had breached a parenting Order. The mother explained that she was in a weak financial position and Justice Devlin noted that a significant Costs Award would have a detrimental impact on the children. Justice Devlin used his discretion to give the father a Costs Award that included half of the fees incurred in preparing for the Application, as well as his filing fee.View CanLII Details